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Will the MLBPA File a Grievance Against the Owners?

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After MLB and the players reached an agreement on the 60 game season, many wondered if the players would follow through with a rumored grievance against MLB. The players’ union has claimed MLB did not adhere to provisions in the March 26 agreement requiring the longest schedule economically feasible. That deal also included additional provisions such as fans being allowed into all 30 ballparks and no relevant travel restrictions.

MLBPA president Tony Clark has maintained the decision by the executive board to reject the last plan Monday was not a choice of a grievance over a deal. “The grievance was not the focus, never has been the focus,” he said. “The goal, and that’s why we sent across proposals, was to attempt to find common ground on an agreement. We simply were unable to do so.”

However, many. including Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, believe that the right to a grievance was imperative to the players. To the point that they were willing to forego extra benefits that were on the table in the owners’ last 60-game proposal.

The owners fear that the MLBPA will argue the owners did not make the “best efforts to play as many games as possible” as required by the March agreement. The theory is that the owners made proposals to the players that they would not accept, thereby being able to impose the 60 game schedule due to time constraints.

The point of their argument is this: The union said that MLB agreed to pay prorated salaries this season, with or without fans at the games. The league said the union agreed to reopen the discussion if games had to be played without fans.

The interesting twist to this was the “misunderstanding” between the two sides when they met face to face last week in a one-on-one meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said this meeting produced a framework for a deal and Clark called merely a management proposal. Manfred has maintained Clark promised to try to persuade players to accept it, then said a few hours later he could not get their support.

All of this has led to baseball’s worst infighting since the strike of 1994-95 wiped out the World Series for the first time in nine decades. The union rejected the last proposal for a financial agreement, then finished protocols to play in the pandemic on Tuesday and promised players will start reporting July 1 for a 60-game season scheduled to start July 23 or 24, MLB’s briefest since 1878.

In the meantime, the outcome left losers on both sides. MLB already has experienced four straight seasons of declining average attendance.

Manfred realizes that many fans were angered by the financial fight between Major League Baseball and the players’ association during a pandemic. Manfred said Wednesday during an interview with The Associated Press. “We owe it to our fans to be better than we’ve been the last three months.”Clark would not directly respond when asked whether lasting damage had been inflicted.

All of this will spill over when the current CBA expires in December of 2021.

Manfred’s promise of being better will have to hold true if MLB wants to avoid more seasons of declining attendance when of course, fans are allowed to return.

 

 

 

 

 

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